All posts by Bianca Wargo

more of You, less of me

I don’t know why this was on my heart as I was making my pancakes this morning, but it was amplified by this song that I was playing and standing alone in the kitchen singing along. I remember one time that it was pointed out that anxiety (which I’ve struggled with a lot, and on occasion still do) is rooted in thoughts about the self.

Anxiety is the result of a heart that wants more and more for oneself or expects more and more from oneself. I tried disproving this in my own mind by combing through some of my own anxieties and overwhelming expectations about myself and my circumstances. Here’s a list of some of them, since I almost had to write them out myself to make this make sense:

  • Why haven’t I been able to get myself a full time job yet?
  • Will I ever be good enough for the husband I want?
  • How will I be able to pay my ______ bill?
  • What more will it take for me to look pretty enough?
  • Why did I have to say _____ like that? It was so awkward, why can’t I be less awkward.

Notice how the questions are all centered around myself, my actions, my looks, my personality, my abilities, etc. And thinking about that and the American Church today put one thought into my head in particular that is imperative to cultivating a deep-rooted faith– one that isn’t given too much water so it develops shallow roots, and one that isn’t constantly parched and unable to grow at all. The Church here too often makes Jesus out to be like a genie because we are so worried about ourselves or our circumstances or what we can do. And that’s why Motion Worship reminded me in this song (though this isn’t part of the lyrics) :

A gospel centered around the self is no gospel at all.

Jesus tells us to deny ourselves for a reason. John the Baptist says “He must become greater” and we “must become less” for a reason. Jesus tells us “you cannot be my disciple, unless you love me more than you love your father and mother, your wife and children, and your brothers and sisters. You cannot follow me unless you love me more than you love your own life” (Luke 14:26, CEV).

Ultimately, all we actually have control over is how we react to our circumstances. Job is a prime example of this. So is Joseph who was sold by his brothers into slavery. So is Mary, who faced a possible stoning (that clearly did not happen) for being pregnant outside of wedlock. So is Jesus, who we know was crucified and we know submitted not to Himself or His flesh, but the will of the Father because of His prayer in Gethsemane.

Jesus’s focus not on His stress or anxiety in that very human moment. Much like Jesus weeping at the death of Lazarus (though He knew He would raise him from the dead), the worry and the honest conversation with the Father show us how Jesus was fully human and like us in the sense that He, though God, was in that moment subjected to the limitations of the flesh and is in that way able to sympathize with us.

But even in His most human moments He exercises His perfection in showing us the best practices in redirecting our thoughts and the central focus of them (think 2 Corinthians). The focus, instead of it being on his worries, is on the Father and His will; therefore we will see that His focus turns to us.

See, there’s this part of Louie Giglio’s Don’t Give the Enemy a Seat at Your Table that I love, and that a friend of mine referenced in a youth retreat message about Jesus’s “I am the Good Shepherd” statement. Giglio rewrites Psalm 23 from a standpoint of someone who is their own not-so-good shepherd. I highly suggest looking at Psalm 23 and Louie Giglio’s revised version side-by-side. Notice the differences. Consider them. Consider what it really means to be on the throne of your life— how little peace that brings with the limited power you have (because let’s be real, we human beings don’t have a lot of power even over our own circumstances).

I am my own shepherd,

and I’m a mess.

I don’t have everything I need. That’s for sure.

I wouldn’t know still water if it were staring right at me.

I haven’t taken a rest in a green pasture for quite a while now.

I don’t walk along paths of righteousness, but I know what fear and evil are.

I seek comfort wherever I can get it.

I can’t stand my enemies. I want to hurt them.

My cup definitely overflows— I’m full of angst, consumed by anger and sorrow and rage. I’m so full I easily spill over. I’m packed so tight, it doesn’t take much for me to explode.

I don’t know what’s going on to follow me all the days of my life, but I can tell you one thing:

My soul? Not so great.

Don’t Give the Enemy a Seat at Your Table, Louie Giglio

And aside from the fact that no one being or thing should be above Him who created us and everything around us, this is why Jesus tells us we should deny ourselves. He was present at the beginning, is one with the Father who created us through Him (as Jesus is the Word incarnate) by the power of His Holy Spirit. There is no one more qualified than any of the three persons of the Trinity— and where one is present, they all are— to understand how we were created and for what purpose. We were not created to love ourselves. We were created to love God who loves us and created us as an outpouring of His love. We were created to reflect Him, not to live a “truth” of our own.

All these thoughts came to mind just days before I officially earned my Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and English Writing— a momentous occasion that I can say I’m proud of, but that I don’t want or need to make about me at all. It’s about the people that got me there, the God that created those people and gifted me with their company, and all that God has provided in both mundane and miraculous circumstances. Yes, I put in work. Yes, there were a lot of tears (it is college after all, and it does get tough as much as it gets good). Yes, I worried a lot more than I needed to. I could go on and on because yes, I do acknowledge the part that I played in getting here. It was not handed to me on a silver platter, and that— rather than it simply being bestowed upon me— is how I know God cares not only about our goals and dreams, but also how the process forms us into someone that reflects Him more as a painting reflects the person that painted it. Hebrews 12:11 is one of my favorite verses to reference as a coach and even to myself.

Being punished isn’t enjoyable while it is happening—it hurts! But afterwards we can see the result, a quiet growth in grace and character.

Hebrews 12:11, TLB

Before Jesus was arrested, He made a triumphal entry. Any ordinary human would soak all of that in and let it feed his/her pride if not careful, but Jesus was not merely human. He was fully human– the Son of Man– and He is fully God– the Son of God. He knew what was coming.

In similar manner, that’s kind of how I’m seeing this. I appreciate all the love, but hearing that I did it, I’ve earned my degree, I’ve overcome so much… as true as it is, it was not me but Christ in me.

I do not discount or discredit the work I’ve put in by saying this– I want to make that abundantly clear. I put in that work though and mustered the strength to push through because God made it abundantly clear that this place, in these classes, is where I’m calling you to be. He didn’t need me there, but for my sake and the sake of others, He put me into a spot where no matter how badly I wanted to quit or how worried I was I could not afford my last year of college I knew that Kean was where I needed to be because that’s where He wanted me.

And this is what I was referencing when I said “God has provided in both mundane and miraculous circumstances.”

When it comes to the ordinary, I can’t tell you how many times I was exhausted and felt alone or singled out for my outspoken faith; yet I had a community to encourage me and pour wisdom into my life on how to handle the persecution. I had a family that I know prayed for me though I almost never witnessed it with my own eyes (my parents are very much not the type to announce to the world all they do despite the fact they do so much more than most people I know). I had time to sit in the Word through Zoom University before being sent out into the world for real– time to let the roots of my faith grow deep and strong.

When it comes to the miraculous, this last year that got me my degree and has cultivated my heart in more ways I’m even aware of almost didn’t happen. I almost didn’t have the opportunity because my family, on paper, seems well off enough to not have a big problem with affording a cheap tuition like Kean, but there really wasn’t much of a plausible way that I could afford it in that moment. I prayed about it for weeks as class registration opened and many of the classes I could have taken filled up. As I was waiting for a miracle to afford it, I went back and forth with English and psych professors via email, trying to plan what I could if God really intended to provide. I had to change my schedule probably five times last August because it wasn’t until literal days before the payment deadline that God provided.

After what I thought was a typical Sunday church service, I went out to my car and found an envelope with my name on it under the driver’s side wiper. I don’t know if it was a person, a group of people, or the church deacons, or what, but the money in that envelope allowed me to at least open up a payment plan for that semester.

The note, though I can’t exactly quote it now because I can’t find it (I know I kept it though), allowed me the choice still– to use it for school as the gift was intended, or to give it to the church as a tithe. I could have done anything else with it too if I wanted, but those were the two options presented in the note.

And it took me back to Eden for a moment. God allowed us to choose eternity with Him or not, and Adam and Eve chose not at the moment of the fall. In large part, as the context given in the previous hyperlinks shows, Eve choses this because she was not personally there when God gave the command not to eat of that one tree, much like we in these modern times were not there to personally witness the birth, life, crucifixion, and resurrection of Christ. But the other reason Eve was the main target of the serpent was because she was not yet given her name– she was not presented with her identity, no matter how apparent it was. And this is why, in its own twisted way, Covid was a blessing to some like me. My faith grew roots and began growing leaves in that time– I was and am sure of my identity in Christ as a child of the Most High King. And that’s why I knew my only option was to use that money for its primarily intended use– to finish school.

And while getting the classes I needed were a headache after that because I had only six more classes and few available options, the headaches put me into classes where I could freely share the Gospel to people willing to listen regardless of how hard their hearts may or may not have been. I was able to sit back and listen to more perspectives than I’d really gotten to sit back and listen to before– even perspectives that I disagreed or were slightly hurt by. It made Thursday nights my favorite time of the week by far, regardless of whether it was the fall’s elit class or this spring’s network narratives both because of the people and the genuine conversations.

So sure, one could say that I’ve accomplished a lot, but I personally prefer to think more of Him and less of me. For the sake of my anxiety, my temptation to compare myself, my lack of control over most things in life, and also just to stay humble, I think more of Him and less of me.

This is something that God has accomplished in and through me. I’m more proud of that than I am of myself.


I finished this right before Bible study tonight and was expecting a typical study that starts off with the usual half hour of talking and a few worship songs, then breaking out into smaller groups for some deep study questions on whatever the new study is going to be. (I promise this will get around to the process of writing this piece).

Well, it actually ended up being something completely new that I wasn’t too sure about when I walked in. We had spiritual discipline “stations,” for lack of a better word. One room was sectioned off for meditation on scripture, another for study, another for prayers of adoration and thanksgiving, and another for prayers of supplication.

When I was in the church library (which was the scripture meditation room for the night) I felt led to go back to my roots and examine how far I’ve come since first reading 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8. Some of you may or may not remember from last semester what the significance was when I first read it from the end of this blog post. But what I began to realize is that it’s not as much about what He’s done for me as I first thought— not that I was wrong before either because what He’s done is still true— but it’s more just about who He is.

And I think without realizing it, I was slowly coming to a place where I’ve begun to realize that, and 2048 A.D. is like a culmination of that realization that no matter what god, gods, or lack thereof that anyone else could believe in, there is no god that is as personal, gracious, wise, generous, and merciful. And when I say personal, I mean He met me when I was so broken and exhausted and tired of the cycle of relationship hopping and using myself and others just to try to normalize an abuse that was never meant to be a normal thing anyway, when I knew nothing but the pain that I’d caused myself and that others caused me (even though I blamed myself for that too at the time). He straight up slapped me across the face, pulled me back up on my feet, and dusted me off, pulling me into a big ol’ bear hug as He let me cry into His chest. I could feel again because of that moment of clarity.

So getting back to the process (and what all of that has to do with it), I wanted to capture some of that in this piece. While I don’t think AI will annihilate the human race, I think we will become enslaved to it as my old self was enslaved in the same sense to my old habits. I think many of us already have fallen into that trap, some without acknowledging it. I didn’t know quite how to put that into just 200-500 words, so I stuck to dialogue and a few details.

The details I included outside the dialogue intentionally highlight the humanity of Hinton though, and focus on a certain joy despite his regret for pioneering artificial intelligence. I have no idea if he knows this same inexplicable joy that God provides out of (sometimes literal) nothingness, but I could imagine that if he would give up a comfortable job to try and help people to learn about AI and how to protect from its potential hazards, some part of him does. Some part of him is seeing a pattern that we are being defined by the things we create, rather than the things we create being defined by us. Many churches and people do the same to God where they try to define Him when it’s actually Him who defines us because creation is defined by its Creator. We just get the joy and honor of reflecting that even just a tiny bit, even though many abuse that ability to create as I do not believe was Hinton’s intention, but there are certainly others that realize what AI’s brain-numbing superpowers could allow them to do.

So, I’m grateful for so much. Above all else I’m grateful for Jesus and His grace and mercy, but I’m also so grateful that He’s allowed my Thursday nights for the past two semesters to be filled with such beautiful people, I’m grateful that He made a way for this year at Kean to even be possible for me (that’s a story for class though if anyone wants to hear it because it was a literal miracle), and I’m just all around grateful.


The internet is the brain of AI, and is filled with information on nearly every muse we could see or imagine. But what about those that we can’t imagine?

That sounds like a strange and somewhat scary question– probably because it is. If the things we can already imagine are scaring us to a point of wanting to stop or censor it, then what about the things that do not make sense to our tiny human brains? How many times have we stood in fear of something people have created? How often do we stand in awe-struck fear of our own Creator, let alone the discipline of the very people who brought is into and up in this world? Does that fear stop our stubborn human nature? Why should something that we have created be any different?

We should not let fear of harm overpower our imagination for the possibilities of what may be the next printing press or internet.

Censoring the technologies of free expression ; Ronald K. L. CollinsRyne Weiss

And that fear is exactly what keeps us running is circles as we ride our muses as a horse in a race.

I would, to some degree, argue that without a muse we are running around in circles rather than reaching a point. For example, theories on geological dating of rocks (especially sedimentary rocks) often depends on the fossils within them. But then again, how do we know when particular fossils were formed? No one was there to observe or record the existence of the fossilized organism, and the rock’s estimated formation is dependent on the fossil? Geologists that don’t play into the young earth ideology that many Christians hold will often say the date of the fossil is dependent on either the formation of the rock (which we’ve already established is informed by the fossil) or macro-evolutionary theory– something that has yet to occur before our very eyes, let alone replicated by scientists. We begin to fall into circular reasoning that I think was best explained by John Morris:

In circular reasoning, instead of proceeding from observation to conclusion, the conclusion interprets the observation, which “proves” the conclusion. … Thus, the rocks date the fossils, and the fossils date the rocks. The unquestioned assumption of evolution provides the context for the entire process.

The Young Earth: The Real History of the Earth– Past, Present, and Future ; John Morris

My point is that when we’re writing, the muse is the point. Though an AI may help us to decipher how to go about that point, it’s not the best at getting to that point on its own in a way that is unique to your muse. And I think we often get caught in the details about the muse, or maybe in how the muse makes us feel or react (I’ve most certainly been guilty of this). But then we use those details to interpret the muse. We then become trapped in this circular reasoning in our writing when we simply observe and don’t ask questions and go somewhere from there.

I like how Nick Cave put it in his letter to the people at MTV:

She comes to me with the gift of song and in return I treat her with the respect I feel she deserves — in this case this means not subjecting her to the indignities of judgement and competition. My muse is not a horse and I am in no horse race and if indeed she was, still I would not harness her to this tumbrel — this bloody cart of severed heads and glittering prizes. My muse may spook! May bolt! May abandon me completely!

My muse is not a horse, Nick Cave

The muse should not be a horse kept in stables and enclosures, or a horse that runs circles. Our creativity should not subject the muse to that. While observations can be beautiful and profound, sometimes with points that can be left for interpretation by the audience, they most often do not answer the questions in such a way that leaves us in awesome wonder. Making plain observations simply leaves the piece at nothing more than a piece of writing– often with little room for the audience to take part in this process of creation (as Madeleine L’Engle often invites her audience into with her work, such as A Wrinkle in Time). Her work leaves people asking questions, and challenges audiences to learn throughout their adventures through her work. I’d like to reiterate a quote from Walking on Water:

When language is diminished, I am thereby diminished, too. In time of war language always dwindles… We think because we have words, not the other way around. The more words we have, the better able we are to think conceptually. … As a child, when I came across a word I didn’t know, I didn’t stop reading the story to look it up, I just went on reading. And after I had come across the word in several books, I knew what it meant… We were capable of absorbing far more vocabulary when we read straight on than when we stopped to look up every word. … If our vocabulary dwindles to a few shopworn words, we are setting ourselves up for takeover by a dictator. When language becomes exhausted, our freedom dwindles…

Walking on Water, Madeleine L’Engle (p.29-31)

And circling back to the point of this class, AI uses the language we are already likely to use. It’s brain is the internet– the lump sum of human output and interaction– and especially when asking AI language programs to put together a creative piece, it calculates something that we are likely to understand. Instead of challenging us, it gives us what we are already comfortable with. Instead of leaving us asking questions or trusting the audience to be able to pick up particular details, it over-explains or makes things so obvious that the reader has no job but to consume. Creative writing is much more than consumption, awards, or race horses running around a track– it’s about the muse.

It just occurred to me to look up the actual definition of a muse. There are two forms of the word, both of which I find relevant.

  1. NOUN : a person or personified force who is the source of inspiration for a creative artist.
  2. VERB : to be absorbed in thought ; to say to oneself in a thoughtful manner ; to gaze thoughtfully at.

See, the muse is the source of inspiration, thought, or I would even dare to say it’s the source of questioning. The creative act is daring to explore those questions, while AI seeks merely to answer them. But because of the heavy idolization and reliance on technology, we’ve already been primed, in large part, to want answers more than adventure or experience.

The only other question I have regarding this topic for the moment is one that I already know my answer for– dare I even say, the answer to. I want to challenge you to think about it too though. What is the muse of the muse– it’s source and reason for existing in the first place? Given that the muse inspires so much in us as mere humans, and that we often still have some dominion over these muses, especially in a creative sense, how much more powerful do you think the Artist that created your muse is? Is that something that leaves you in awesome wonder and even asking more questions than the muse itself? I would think so if your answer is anything like mine.


I already find myself glued to my phone enough. Watching everyone build-a-bot like some custom stuffed bear that we used to go out and interact with people to make ourselves with our own hands is… well… depressing. Putting off the pain via these mind-numbing intelligent artificial besties– however custom to the individual they may be– will only cause it to come crashing down if not in this generation, than in the next. Do we really want that for ourselves, let alone our children?

Though I do understand the many things that this sort of technology has helped with, there are many other things that just seem to have gotten worse.

I’m already starting to realize that the most difficult part of this project is somehow using artificial intelligence to write this story. I know how to use ChatGPT already, and last class helped me to understand how to use SudoWrite– I feel completely comfortable using both tools. The issue is arising that I already have an idea of where I want to go with this piece and since short pieces tend to be more of my forte, I’m not inclined to want help because I don’t feel like I need it. (I think part of it is also that these AI’s don’t exactly produce quality content).

As for how last class has helped me, I think being given time to try AI language generators that I haven’t explored yet helped. Before last week, I’d only gotten to try ChatGPT. I tried SudoWrite though; its design elicits more collaboration between the algorithm and the author. I didn’t like exactly how it was formatted, but once I figured that out I liked the way it functions better. I think the next step to this process is to try writing every other sentence based on what I already have written above.


In reading the articles for this week, all I could think of were the several places in the Bible where humanity is advised not to fall into a place of utmost dependence on anything or anyone but God. We should be able to use what He’s provided us with for what needs to get done.

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

Galatians 5:1, ESV

and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.

1 Thessalonians 4:11-12, ESV

In many ways, we are already pretty heavily enslaved to technology. Anyone else ever walked into a pole or tripped on something because you were on your phone? Ever witnessed that happen to someone else? Chances are at least one of those questions, when honestly answered, is a yes. I admit, I’m a yes to both.

This said, there is a scary element to AI that seems to be unfolding behind the major headlines of today. Ever hear of the Federal Reserve’s new FedNow system? It’s essentially a newly announced federal central online bank. Seems convenient, right? Well, let’s remember who’s running it– the government. Let’s also consider what other countries have similar systems already in place, like China, which now has the power to freeze and shut down accounts or take money from accounts when any particular citizen so much as jaywalks, let alone criticizes the establishment.

And AI has the ability to track these things and record them– the man behind the server being free to sell that information because even if it is illegal, the value that information holds will get him more than enough money to escape with hardly a slap on the wrist.

Now, this is hardly the first time that the idea of a central bank has been thrown around, but it is something to take into account with regard to how technology and AI might affect humanity. We can definitely look back to the short film we watched, frames.

Here’s one of the other things with AI: when we begin to rely on it, it’s like a pot that’s too small for a plant. Hear me out– a large plant in a small pot gets root-bound, meaning its own roots begin to suffocate one another as the plant grows until it just can’t grow or survive. In essence, when we hold heavy reliance in technology, we suffocate our own roots as human beings. We become the dry shrub rolling around that Jeremiah describes:

Thus says the Lord: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord. He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come. He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land. “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”

Jeremiah 17:5-8, ESV

But how is AI a small pot when its “brain” is so vast? The answer to that question is similar to the one I asked before regarding walking into poles or tripping on something because you or someone you observed was on…

We don’t pay attention anymore. We don’t learn to observe and we simply rely on internet searches and how-to guides and videos. We don’t learn to discover with our own hands, through our own mistakes when the use of this technology is so unchecked. Its pervasiveness isn’t what’s necessarily bad– it’s the fact that we have not addressed where the healthy boundary is so that we as humans can still survive without it. In many cases today, I doubt most people can, myself included (which as a Christian is definitely something I should seek more accountability on, hence why I include that detail here).

And there’s a quote that struck me from a book I’m currently reading regarding this (though not specifically AI) regarding writing. I highly, highly, highly recommend Walking on Water by Madeleine L’Engle, regardless of your faith. Even if you’re not a Christian, there’s a lot to be learned on writing and art from the A Wrinkle in Time author. The quote that struck me though is this:

When language is diminished, I am thereby diminished, too. In time of war language always dwindles… We think because we have words, not the other way around. The more words we have, the better able we are to think conceptually. … As a child, when I came across a word I didn’t know, I didn’t stop reading the story to look it up, I just went on reading. And after I had come across the word in several books, I knew what it meant… We were capable of absorbing far more vocabulary when we read straight on than when we stopped to look up every word. … If our vocabulary dwindles to a few shopworn words, we are setting ourselves up for takeover by a dictator. When language becomes exhausted, our freedom dwindles…

Walking on Water, Madeleine L’Engle (p.29-31)

There is a reason that The Word was in the beginning. God spoke everything into existence. Jesus is the Word that John refers to at the beginning of his Gospel narrative, demonstrating once again how the three persons of the trinity were present before, during, and after creation was created. Like I’ve said before though, the power of life and death is indeed in the tongue, whether in speech or on paper or on a screen.

It’s a really busy week ahead for me so I’m getting cut a little short on my thoughts here for time’s sake. I’ll just leave you with one more verse and a question though:

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

Hebrews 10:24-25, ESV

How is AI and other technology being used to encourage people, and is it actually doing a good job at it?

(I think particularly of the strong correlations between both certain imperative, life-saving advancements as well as those that plague the minds and mental well being of so many, especially young people).


Found poetry is something we got to talking about a little bit last semester in e-lit when I got to talk a bit about the Blackout Poetry Tool. Keith Holyoak also talks some about it in his article which explores the question Can AI Write Authentic Poetry?

Holyoak dove too deep into that question of AI truly being able to create real poetry, the explanation for what found poetry is serves as an important reminder, yes, but also gives a good preface into his stance and somewhat even goes into the why.

I, for one, already have an idea of where I stand on this issue for the reasons expressed in one of my previous blogs. Artificial intelligence can only use what it’s been given, as is the case with humans also. But here’s the catch: even though humanity is given such boundless resources and knowledge, we still have limited knowledge of and access to much of it. I mean why do you think things like AI and other technologies are still developing and discovering things? Because there’s still more out there.

So that said, AI is still limited to human knowledge, language and opinions, with a “brain” modeled much after the mind of man (I mean, man created it after all, and its “brain” is the internet which includes record of the endless spewing of human thought, knowledge, stupidity, wisdom, and interaction). It may not be able to experience or develop the way we do, but it can calculate and model what our experience and development is like. On top of this, its “brain” has the ability to work much faster than ours do, in part because we have so heavily relied on it’s computational powers as a replacement for our own (rather than using it more like a crutch when some part of us needs rest).

And because this “brain” has become so vast with the developments of AI technology and its codes modeled to function similarly to humans that the way it functions is now somewhat unpredictable at times.

Computer programs can now learn from enormous sets of data using methods called deep learning. What the programs learn, and how they will behave after learning, is very difficult (perhaps impossible) to predict in advance. The question has arisen (semiseriously) whether computer programs ought to be listed as coauthors of scientific papers reporting discoveries to which they contributed. There is no doubt that some forms of creativity are within the reach, and indeed the grasp, of computer programs.

Can AI Write Authentic Poetry? Keith Holyoak

When we did AI-generated poems in class a few weeks ago and shared them, most did not include much wordplay or unique uses of clichés (rather, the clichés were used in the most cliché ways where it was not necessary to a strong poem). So given how fast AI can learn and develop, I decided to try it again with a poem I wrote last year and recently re-edited.

I think it goes without saying, but just to clarify, the first document attachment is my own work (with italics being words pulled from the English Standard Version of Psalm 22 John 19:30), while the second was AI generated. When it comes to creative writing, I’m sure that if we’ve made it this far into a degree in English Writing (regardless of our status as graduate or undergraduate) that we’ve had the phrase “show, don’t tell” beaten into our minds. AI language models like ChatGPT may see these words a lot, considering its vast “brain” that is the internet, but it hasn’t yet reached a point where it can understand the word. It associates definitions to words because there are online dictionaries, sure, and that leaves open the possibility; in the meantime, while it can connect the dots, it has not yet been able to elicit or create its own meaning from that in the same way we have because it has no ability to personally experience these things its prompted to write about.

(Sorry this post ends pretty abruptly, Holy Week is next level busy this year).

intent. (pt.2)

I think anyone with an eye for what effort really looks like can probably figure out the difference between ChatGPT and a human being’s writing. The AI tool can be used as a cheating device that, when the user has enough practice and knows precisely how to prompt a decent essay, can generate (I refrain to say that it can really write) a decent essay. That said, it can easily help students edit papers they may have honestly written as well, saving time and reducing stress for many– especially those with heavier workloads. Don’t get me wrong, the art and practice of manually editing (among other tasks) is still important to understand and be able to do, but at a certain point where one has already learned how it works the manual effort is sometimes unnecessary. So it seems that Katherine Schulten poses a valid question as the title of her New York Times opinion piece, How Should Schools Respond to ChatGPT? She also poses several other important questions that not only should educators be taking into account, but their students as well.

  • Have you experimented with ChatGPT, whether in school or on your own? What did you think? How promising or useful do you think it is? Why?

I’ve experimented with ChatGPT, and it really could be an extremely useful tool when it’s used with the right intent. Like I said before, it can be used to skip learning things, or it can be used as an aide to things already learned. So, teachers can potentially use ChatGPT to have something generating work for students doing better on certain topics, while they help struggling students understand what’s being taught. Or maybe how the teacher phrases things might not click for some students– in this case, maybe the student can ask the AI for an explanation of some sort and get started on starting to understand things a bit better. No class is going to have a bunch of students that learn exactly the same way or at the same pace. ChatGPT could potentially help with that.

  • Why do you think many educators are worried about it? The New York City school system, for instance, has blocked access to the program for fear of “negative impacts on student learning, and concerns regarding the safety and accuracy of content.” Do you agree? What “negative impacts” can you imagine? What, if anything, worries you about this tool?

Educators seem to be more concerned about cheating than they are about ChatGPT, but the bot is just the means through which that cheating might occur. Sure, some healthy boundaries are entirely necessary to deter dishonesty in academics, and they’re also necessary to ensure that there is a legitimate measure on whether or not students are actually learning the content being taught (which means math being done manually or in-class review of their, there, and they’re). So I don’t entirely think blocking ChatGPT is the best idea, but it’s not the worst either. I think a better solution might be to create in-class, interactive, and tech-free lessons to keep students engaged when they are initially learning content. Having no boundaries on ChatGPT might create a lazy work ethic and a lack of learning content (but not a total lack of learning anything, if I’m honest– users would still learn how to use AI).

  • This article argues that ChatGPT’s potential as an educational tool outweighs its risks. How do you feel? Should teachers “thoughtfully embrace” this technology? If so, what could that look like? For example, how would you imagine using the chatbot on an upcoming assignment in a way that supports your learning?

Like I’ve said before, technology like this isn’t inherently bad. As far as I’m concerned, God created everything to be good but things ended up distorted (or in other words, bad) because of sin (or how we as human beings handled things). Nothing is inherently bad, it’s just distorted when it’s dealt with the wrong ways. The case is similar with ChatGPT: when we thoughtfully and intentionally approach its use, it can be a great help and support to how we teach or learn.

  • Some educators say the threat of widespread student cheating means the end of classroom practices such as assigning homework, take-home tests and essays. Do you agree? Or, do you think those activities can be reimagined to incorporate the use of chatbots? If so, would that be a good thing? Why or why not?

I would somewhat agree, but frankly that’s something that will reflect in assignments done and tests taken in class without the use of any technology. This is why having a healthy balance of technology use and lack thereof is important to modern pedagogies. Allowing the use of it will allow students to not only learn but satisfy the (often subconsciously) perceived need and (in theory) make aptly designed in-class tech-free activities more interesting and engaging.


Upon the topic of authorship, before reading any of the articles, I immediately thought of two Bible passages (shocker, I know). The first was Genesis 1, the creation story. Everything was created by God’s Word– the very Word that, as John explains in John 1:1-14, came down as the light that shines in the darkness. And as I’m writing this, another verse came to mind: 2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV)– “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” There’s this divine authorship about the entirety of creation, about the Bible itself (given its 40 authors across 3 continents and about 1500 years and still having a consistent and cohesive storyline)… and we were made to reflect that. Genesis 1:26 says “Let us make man in our image, to be like us…” There’s an interesting Latin term that roots from that verse: imago dei. Here’s the thing with that term though: yes, it can translate to “in His image,” but it can also translate to “doing as He would do.” And this is where authorship comes from for us as people– it’s part of the very core of our identities, whether we recognize that identity or not.

“The voice in a piece of writing is a defining characteristic that touches the reader instinctively” (Carlow U). Just this quote had me thinking of how pertinent word choice can be. For example, I asked ChatGPT to describe a heavily infected wound in one sentence and regenerated the results six times. These were the AI generated responses:

  1. A heavily infected wound may be red, swollen, painful, and exude pus.
  2. A heavily infected wound may present with increased pain, redness, swelling, pus, and a foul odor.
  3. A heavily infected wound is characterized by increased pain, redness, swelling, and pus or drainage.
  4. A heavily infected wound may present with increased pain, redness, swelling, and pus discharge.
  5. A heavily infected wound can appear swollen, red, painful, and may discharge pus.
  6. A heavily infected wound is characterized by increased pain, redness, swelling, and drainage of pus.

You can see the pattern, and while it may provide a picture, it may not be pungent or repulsive as a heavily infected wound might be. You don’t feel the radiating heat of the wound just before you touch it by these descriptions. You might see a still picture of the puss excretion, but you can’t quite visualize or smell the volcano-like eruption of sticky, yellow, pungent, rancid goo as some small but excruciating degree of pressure is applied near the edges of the now tomato-colored skin.

My point is, AI may give a still picture, but it does not give life to the picture. Sure, the image I used is not the ideal picture of life, but it is a part of life on this side of eternity nonetheless. And while every life is lived and experienced differently, almost every life here on earth comes physically from different parents, there’s still a pattern that shows life does not come from anything else but life.

Every life also has a trace of its original source. Justin, the author of the Gold Penguin article, starts with this question of what originality really is, which I really appreciated given one of my recent posts that also explored this topic. To sum up the idea of that whole post, here’s just a portion of it:

The key word that make me think of an article we read last Wednesday was original. In this article, Kenneth Goldsmith poses the argument that “The world is full of texts, more or less interesting; I do not wish to add any more.” Goldsmith mentions the ideas of other minds such as Marjorie Perloff and her idea of the unoriginal genius. Essentially, Goldsmith implicitly asks his audience what we should really consider plagiarism, especially given there are authors that have created pieces of other authors’ works– works of unoriginal genius known as patchwriting. So as I skimmed through the articles for this week, I also thought of ChatGPT is basically just an algorithm that does this patchwriting for us.

So what really is original? I’d argue that there really isn’t anything under the sun that’s truly original. I would have somewhat argued otherwise before reading this article, but there is so much information out and available these days that something truly original is hard to come by. I might even say it’s impossible, even from a faith standpoint.

The devil isn’t creative– he has no power to create but is only out to steal, kill, and destroy. Rather, he’s crafty. He takes Truth and twists it in such a way that we see our own truths being created. He’s an unoriginal genius, of sorts.

original. Bianca I. Wargo

But regardless of how these stories, words, things, ideas, you name it are twisted or molded, they all reflect the same Creator. All things were created for good, they’ve just been used with ill will– thus these things have been left with traces of creators that we see in the every day life of the physical world: people. And that’s not to say we as people always mean the worst when we create– we typically don’t, I know, and that’s because we still do bear the image of a good God, whether we recognize that God and accept our identity in Him or not.

So with that said, Originality, the program Justin writes about, will likely still detect things as “unoriginal” even if it is truly original to the author and no AI tool and no plagiarism is involved. Sure, language is constantly evolving, but there are only so many letters in the alphabet, and only so many different words we can reasonably create aside from the many (but still limited) catalog of English vocabulary. The same is also true of any other language, including computer code.

And this got me into a deeper question that I think I’ll leave us with for today: where does authorship begin? I know I already have my own (probably pretty predictable by now) answer to this question, but it is nonetheless an interesting topic of conversation that I’m sure we’ll get into for next class.


I can’t agree that “Technology is the thing that makes us us,” as Reid Hoffman put it. Yes, it may play a key role in how we develop and acquire knowledge, wisdom, or different types of intelligence, but technology does not (and frankly, should not) hold that kind of power over our identity. Someone last semester in elit mentioned the idea that creation is supposed to submit to its creator– I’d completely agree with that statement, though not without acknowledging that this is not always the case. We’re seeing this with AI developing so fast that it might surpass the intellect of the humans that created it and deviate from its original design, and we’ve seen this before with humanity as a whole deviating from its original design: to live in communion and submission to God. So just as it is not we as humans who define God, we are made in His image in such a way that we also are not defined by the things we create or do. The things we create, such as AI, reflect a piece of our humanity– the difference between the two is so important to realize.

This may seem completely unrelated, but I promise this has something to do with that point still: I’ve placed my identity in a lot of what I’ve put out into the world, what I’ve been able to do for people (including myself), or even in who I am by itself without any sort of foundation– “my truth,” if you will. The reason I say that saying technology or AI somehow defines who we are or what humanity is so dangerous is because making the foundation of who I am what I could make, do, or be was actually so detrimental to my overall health and existence. I mentioned something in my last post about Ecclesiastes 1:9, and this is exactly what is happening here. When humanity’s identity is in anything but its creator, it never ends well. Ever notice how in Genesis Adam doesn’t give Eve her name until after the fall? Yea, a solid foundation for identity is important– submission to the purpose that identity holds is just as important.

That said, it is still something that brings light to what humanity really means. Like I said, the things we create are still reflections of humanity. Hoffman does mention this, though it seemed as if he saw that reflection as the real thing– the actual, legitimate, tangible display of humanity. But also like I mentioned and I’m sure we’ve all noticed at some points in life, humanity is pretty fallen and depraved. Technology doesn’t always work the way we want it to because it reflects that– AI is likely to develop and do exactly that. Example A:

Again, Hoffman acknowledges this as well in his article. What I found to be an interesting statement was this: “Nor would I ever suggest that technologies are neutral, equally capable of being used for good or bad.” I was really going to say that technology itself can be neutral, but I hesitate to even say that a human being can be truly neutral. As this entire post I’ve been harping on about how it reflects our human nature rather than replacing or defining it.

And I know a lot of what I’ve said thus far about the nature of our humanity that technology reflects is negative, but I want to take a moment to actually talk about the goodness of humanity too. Hoffman vocalizes some good and important propositions for which technology, including AI, can be used. Humanity was created and the only thing God created and said was very good. As we are created and seen as a masterpiece by God, we could also say the same of what we create. As God can still use some of the worst people for good, we can still use these potentially bad things for so much good. In many ways it goes back to intention.

So there is some hope for AI being more of a tool than a weapon, as there’s been hope for humanity from the beginning. There are ways to use it to help people. There are better ways to implement it than we’ve seen with things like Chat GPT coming out before software to help detect AI writing has been equally developed.


I’d almost argue that ChatGPT, though it’s not at the same quality yet, could replace creative writers. In one of the articles cited for this week’s pathfinding discussion, there was one quote in particular that had me thinking about a point from my senior seminar last Wednesday.

While ChatGPT can provide suggestions and prompts to help writers overcome writer’s block and generate ideas, it cannot create original content on its own.

Sunil Kumar, ChatGPT: The Future of Writing and What it Means for Writers

The key word that make me think of an article we read last Wednesday was original. In this article, Kenneth Goldsmith poses the argument that “The world is full of texts, more or less interesting; I do not wish to add any more.” Goldsmith mentions the ideas of other minds such as Marjorie Perloff and her idea of the unoriginal genius. Essentially, Goldsmith implicitly asks his audience what we should really consider plagiarism, especially given there are authors that have created pieces of other authors’ works– works of unoriginal genius known as patchwriting. So as I skimmed through the articles for this week, I also thought of ChatGPT is basically just an algorithm that does this patchwriting for us. While ChatGPT might be of concern when it comes to the question of replacing writers of any kind, I would say that this doesn’t change the game as much as we might think– it just makes the flow and course of eventual change maybe go a bit faster.

So what really is original? I’d argue that there really isn’t anything under the sun that’s truly original. I would have somewhat argued otherwise before reading this article, but there is so much information out and available these days that something truly original is hard to come by. I might even say it’s impossible, even from a faith standpoint.

We hear so many “unprecedented” or “historic” things on the news. Christians get so scared that we’re nearing the end times as if we haven’t been in the end times since Jesus ascended to heaven and we were left not knowing exactly the day He would come back. There are so many “new trends” and hot topics (whether cultural, political, etc.) that I’m not going to list off right now that are in essence the same things that happened in ancient times, just with different names and contexts. My point is probably best summed up by this:

All streams flow into the sea,
    yet the sea is never full.
To the place the streams come from,
    there they return again.
All things are wearisome,
    more than one can say.
The eye never has enough of seeing,
    nor the ear its fill of hearing.
What has been will be again,
    what has been done will be done again;
    there is nothing new under the sun.

Ecclesiastes 1:7-9 (NIV)

We discussed this a few weeks ago in Bible study because some people started to mention that the enemy seems to always have new ways or new things to deceive or entice people with. The reality is though, the devil does not have the power to read our minds the same way that God knows every fiber of our being. What he does instead is he takes what we say or do and notes how we hold ourselves (even the small things like posture can say a lot about what someone is thinking about themself or how they feel in their environment) and twists that. The devil isn’t creative– he has no power to create but is only out to steal, kill, and destroy. Rather, he’s crafty. He takes Truth and twists it in such a way that we see our own truths being created. He’s an unoriginal genius, of sorts.

And we are somewhat limited to that as well, though I also see that the rephrasing of the same ideas can affect how one constructs a new world within creative writing. This is part of what makes us as human beings unique– we have this creative capacity that one might attribute to the fact that we are all made imago dei. We are still currently limited to time, space, and matter though– and in the case of this discussion, somewhat limited to language. There are ways of creating new words, regardless of whether they become proper or some dialect-specific terms, but even these words are often based on the ideas of other words. I mean think about it, even the English language is made up of several other languages from several different language families (hence why English is often considered a difficult language to get the grammar, spellings, and proper phrasings right). Celtic, Gaelic, Welsh, and Cornish in England originally… then the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes bring in Germanic languages… then St. Augustine brings in Latin… and somehow French and other romance languages got in there too.

So frankly, I think the biggest thing to worry about with ChatGPT isn’t that it will replace creative writers. I think it’s more along the lines of this: